Setting Up MongoDB For ConvoKit

The MongoDB Documentation provides a complete guide on installing and running a MongoDB server. Here, we provide a simplified guide to getting MongoDB setup to use with ConvoKit’s DB Backend, in a handful of settings.

Running MongoDB with Conda

  1. Install conda if needed, following these instructions for your system.

  2. (Optional) Create a new environment where you want to install mongodb:

$ conda create --name my_env
  1. Activate your newly created environment, or an existing environment where you want to install mongodb:

$ conda activate my_env
  1. Install the mongodb package.

$ conda install mongodb

Check to see if version is at least 5.0.

$ mongod --version

If not, utilize:

$ conda install -c conda-forge mongodb=5.0
  1. Start the MongoDB server as a daemon process.

$ mongod --fork --logpath <path for DB logs> --dbpath <path for DB Backend>
  1. Use the MongoDB server for ConvoKit!

  2. To stop the MongoDB server, on Linux or MacOS, use the htop command to find the mongod process ID and run:

$ kill <mongod process ID>
  1. Alternitivly, to stop the MongoDB server on Linux, run

$ mongod --shutdown

Sometimes, the above process doesn’t work for MacOS. However, there is another solution for MacOS users below.

Running MongoDB on MacOS with Homebrew

  1. If needed install Homebrew here.

  2. Use Homebrew to install MongoDB.

$ brew tap mongodb/brew
$ brew install mongodb-community@5.0
  1. Start MongoDB.

$ brew services start mongodb-community@5.0
  1. Use the MongoDB server for ConvoKit!

  2. To stop the MongoDB server, run

$ brew services stop mongodb-community@5.0

Using MongoDB Atlas: A remote MongoDB server in the cloud

MongoDB offers a cloud service version of their database, called MongoDB Atlas. Atlas provides a free tier that is a good option for starting out with ConvoKit remote DB backend, and several paid tiers that provide production level performance. Follow these instructions, based on the instructions for getting started with Atlas provided by the MongoDB team, to setup a MongoDB server in the cloud for use with ConvoKit.

  1. Register a new MongoDB Atlas account here:, and log into the Atlas UI.

  2. Create a new MongoDB cluster and a database user within the Atlas UI.

  3. Add your IP address to the set of approved IP addresses that can connect to cluster, and setup a DB user, within the Atlas UI (as suggested in the “Setup connection security” tab).

  4. In the “Choose a connection method” tab, select “Connect your Application” and choose Python as your driver. Then, copy the outputted URI, which should look something like mongodb+srv://<dbusername>:<dbpassword>

  5. Paste the aforementioned URI into ~/.convokit/config.yml in the db_host field. Then, replace <dbusername> and <dbpassword> with the credentials you setup in step 1, and replace myFirstDatabase with convokit.

  6. Use the remote MongoDB server for ConvoKit!